Great news! On Saturday evening (13 January) Auckland Zoo’s female giraffe Kiraka gave birth to a healthy female calf who our Ungulates keepers estimate stands around 6 feet (1.8m) tall and weighs approximately 60kg.

Following her waters breaking at 7.30pm, it took just two hours (at 9.32pm) for Kiraka to deliver her fifth offspring who was moving about and suckling from her mum (a 1.8m stretch to reach Kiraka’s udders!) within an hour and a half.

“It was a very smooth labour and a textbook delivery by Kiraka, that the team and I had the privilege of viewing from our camera monitoring system before going into the giraffe house to continue monitoring them. It’s been a long 15-month pregnancy for Kiraka during which time she put on an extra 100kg, and with this recent heat and humidity, we’ve no doubt she was very pleased to be finally giving birth!” says Auckland Zoo Ungulates team leader, Tommy Karlsson.

“Having had four other offspring, Kiraka is an experienced mother, and just as she is demonstrating with this latest calf, she’s always extremely attentive and protective. She also has this wonderfully calm nature that has a very positive, relaxing influence on her offspring.

With the assistance of Tommy and his colleagues, the Zoo’s veterinary team were able to carry out a health check on the newborn yesterday and confirm the sex, as well as check on Kiraka’s health.

 At this early stage Kiraka and her calf are primarily staying inside the giraffe house, but Kiraka could choose to bring her calf into the adjoining outdoor yard for short periods during the day, so visitors might potentially catch a glimpse of her.

“The rest of the herd, including this newborn calf’s dad Billy (5) will be out in the Africa Safari Track habitat with the zebra and ostrich. However, there might also be times in the day when they venture inside to check on how Kiraka and her calf are doing.

“Billy, female Rukiya (22), female Kabili (7) and Kiraka and Billy’s son Jabali (born August 2022) were all in the adjoining stall when Kiraka was giving birth and were all very curious, especially Billy. It’s therefore natural that they are wanting to check on and connect in with Kiraka and her calf,” explains Tommy.

Kiraka and her calf will be gradually integrated with the rest of the giraffe herd in the coming days.

Kiraka’s latest calf follows a breeding recommendation as part of the Zoo Aquarium Association (ZAA) Australasian regional breeding and advocacy programme for giraffe – an African species whose population has declined by nearly 30% since the 1980s from the combined impacts of habitat loss and degradation, human population growth, illegal hunting and war/civil unrest. Thanks to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation – an organisation Auckland Zoo has supported since 2014 (with you our visitors help), some great work is being done across 20 African countries to help ensure the future of all four giraffe species.

Naming competition

In the coming weeks, along with updates, the Zoo will announce details of a naming competition for Kiraka’s calf – so be sure to keep any eye on our social channels.


Meet the Zoo's newest giraffe calf

Watch as ungulate keeper Georgie introduces the Zoo's calf and asks for your help in naming her!